Are we an item?

By Michaela Ryan  (Woman’s Day January 28, 2008)

Are you in a relationship no-man’s-land? You’ve been on a few dates, maybe even slept together a couple of times. But God only knows whether you’re an item or not. You talk about lots of stuff… but never what’s happening between you. No one is game enough to come out with the words: ‘So, are we in a relationship here?’

Why do people play games?

Are you scared of rejection? You’re too scared to ask, in case — oh the horror of it all — the answer is ‘no’. Would you prefer to hang around and take what you can, because you’re afraid it will be ripped away from you any minute?

Or maybe you’re scared of the answer being ‘yes’. What if you have a real, live boyfriend or girlfriend on your hands? Someone you need to care for. Someone whose needs and ideas you have to consider. Or perhaps someone who might hurt you just like the last son-of-a-gun you had a relationship with…

Any of this sound familiar?

Can a wishy-washy relationship last?

Counselor Denise Dale warns of “negative self-fulfilling prophecies”. On the one hand, you might consciously want your relationship to work out. But on the other hand, we all have an undercurrent of beliefs that determine where the relationship is really headed. Trouble is, you mightn’t have identified these beliefs before now.

Imagine what happens if, under it all, you’re completely insecure, and feel sure that the other person will dump you any minute?
Or what might happen if you’re convinced that you always get hurt in relationships, and it’s safer to keep a would-be partner at arm’s length?

Denise says your partner will give you a mirror image of how you treat yourself. So if he or she isn’t respecting you, where is it that you don’t respect yourself? If he or she is being non-committal, how do you play your own life in a non-committal way?

Coming outside the game

All of the unsaid stuff is actually running the show, Denise says. You can always choose to open up your communication and get real with each other. But if you’re not willing to do that, you might need to have a good look at the underlying reasons that you’ve ended up in a wishy-washy game. Once you can see what’s really going on, you’ll have the choice to do something about it.